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Palin Problems:

I think David Post is engaging in more than a bit of wishful thinking in his post below. We know he's not a Palin fan, was never a potential McCain supporter, and doesn't exactly have his finger on the pulse of contemporary conservative thinking. There's not "something of a drumbeat building" for a Palin withdrawal (at least not yet). Some conservatives were down on Palin from the beginning, so it should be no surprise that a stray columnist or two — even one who had her article posted on NRO — thinks Palin should pull out after her poor (and occasionally painful) interview performances.

For a better sense of mainstream conservative thinking about Palin right now, I'd point to this Kathryn Lopez column on NRO, which expresses concerns about Gov. Palin, but is not yet ready to throw her overboard. Here is how she concludes:

I'm not where my friend Kathleen Parker is — wanting her to step aside to spend more time with her family and Alaska — but that's not a crazy suggestion. She's right to say that something's gotta change.

My guess — based on nothing but hope for a change — is that Sarah Palin just needs some freedom. I don't know who is holding her back but if John McCain wants to win this thing it had better not be him and his staff. When I watch these interviews, I see a woman who looks like she's stayed up all night studying and is trying to remember the jurisprudential chronology of privacy vis-a-vis reproduction, the war on terror, and public figures (add 12 more things, described in the most complicated way possible, to the list to be more accurate). She looks like a woman who's been cramming talking points and great Matt Scully lines and Mark Salter-McCain war stories and Steve Schmidt marching orders into her head since that first plane ride from Alaska. She looks like a woman who has ceased being the confident, successful executive who got herself elected governor of Alaska without the full force of her party behind her and managed to have an approval rating of which most can't even dream.

This seems wholly unnecessary. People love Sarah Palin when they see her. When she's firing at full force, she comes off as authentic, self-possessed, and ready for a fight. If that is Sarah Palin, that's the Sarah Palin who should be talking to everyone she can. . . .

If Sarah Palin is John McCain's secret weapon, let her go, whoever is holding her back. And, frankly, if it turns out that the "authentic" Palin of rallies and the Republican convention is just good speech delivery in a woman with some good spirit, I want to know that sooner rather than later. (Mitt's still available. Someone in Washington who can actually run a business and knows something about the economy will come in handy once the federal government owns the U.S. banking system.) But if the Palin we know and love and have projected our hopes for sanity in American politics is the real Sarah Palin — then come out from the shadows, woman. You're the one who is going to win this election. Be yourself. Otherwise, what's the point?

Interestingly, K-Lo's recommendations are quite similar to those offered by Bill Kristol this morning.
McCain needs to liberate his running mate from the former Bush aides brought in to handle her — aides who seem to have succeeded in importing to the Palin campaign the trademark defensive crouch of the Bush White House. McCain picked Sarah Palin in part because she's a talented politician and communicator. He needs to free her to use her political talents and to communicate in her own voice. . . .

That debate is important. McCain took a risk in choosing Palin. If she does poorly, it will reflect badly on his judgment. If she does well, it will be a shot in the arm for his campaign.

I think this is right. This year's vice-presidential debate will matter far more than most, largely due to lingering questions about Palin. But I also believe that a strong Palin performance will put these concerns to rest among those for whom this matters (i.e. those who, unlike David, might vote for McCain), and reinforce the meme that the mainstream press is out to get her (and help elect Obama). Selectively edited TV interviews will not have the same force as an unedited debate.

As for what will happen, Kristol reports Senator McCain is unhappy with how the McCain has been handling her, and is demanding changes. Byron York also has this interesting post.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming (and try to keep the comments civil).

UPDATE: In the comments below, David objects to my claim that he "was never a potential McCain supporter," explaining that and might have supported McCain given a different vice presidential choice. He writes:

I was a (strong) supporter of McCain's during the Republican primaries, and I was genuinely delighted that he won the nomination; I actually had not decided for whom to vote in the general election until the Palin nomination, which I believed, and still believe, was an irresponsible, outrageous, and unpatriotic act on McCain's part.
I based my characterization of his views based on his disclosure in this post that he was "not voting" for McCain. I took this to mean that David had decided to not support McCain prior to the Palin decision.

As for myself, I am still somewhat undecided -- both about whom I will support come November and what to make of Gov. Palin. Her Couric interview performance was atrocious, but I've seen plenty of other interviews (and debate performances) that give a very different impression. I also know several people who have found her quite impressive in person. So, at this point, while objecting to anti-Palin arguments I find unfounded and unpersuasive -- and noting that many of the attacks on her are equally applicable to Senator Obama and others -- I'm withholding my final judgment about her and the GOP ticket.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Palin Problems:
  2. Palin to Withdraw!
M (mail):
Good old K-Lo! You can always count on her to say something totally crazy. She doesn't let us down once again. I'm sorry for conservatives if she really represents "mainstream conservative thinking".
9.29.2008 11:40am
Joe McDermott (mail):
KJ Lopez is hardly an objective figure. She's a religious fanatic who's only agenda is pro-life, anti-sex. Read some of her recent columns and see for yourself. Maybe the GOP could go back to being the party of grownups, concentrate on fiscal sanity and strong defense, and tell the social/religious, anti-intellectual wing to pound sand. They'd pick up a lot of votes on the economy and defense and a lot of libertarians. I was hoping that McCain could be nominated and win without kowtowing to the religious crowd, convincing the GOP of its viability without the social/religious conservatives. If Palin were replaced by Lieberman or Ridge and McCain won, it would 1) validate a more libertarian version of the GOP and 2) tell the Dems they have tacked too far left on the economy and defense. What a win-win! One can dream...
9.29.2008 11:45am
Angus:
JA,
That Gibson interview may have been "selectively edited" (is there any other type of editing other than selective?), but what you don't point out is that many of the edited portions make Palin look worse, not better.
9.29.2008 11:53am
Anna:
I happen to agree with K-Lo. I liked Palin because she spoke like a normal person rather than a politician. For example, when Charlie Gibson asked her if she was against abortion, she immediately answered with a "Yes." When did we ever have a politician answer that question directly before? Like her or hate her, one had to respect her for that.

But I think the McCain campaign got on her case because her answers were giving the opponents the sound bites to bury her ("I can see Russia from land in Alaska" which she amended with "an island in Alaska", but of course ABC edited that latter part out). I think that's when they drilled her with the "proper" responses to specific questions. But we all know that doesn't work very well.

It was disheartening to listen to her lately with what seems like memorized lines. Repeating a line word for word, a few times in the same interview, is just creepy. I've watched her interviews and debates before she started running for vice-president, and she is more than capable of holding her own.

So, I think McCain's campaign should let Palin free. If her position differs from McCain, let her say so. Most conservatives hew more finely with her positions than with McCain's anyway. They can show it as a healthy disagreement within the ticket that they're both aware of, with deference to the top of the ticket of course. But let her be.
9.29.2008 11:53am
Franklin Drackman:
Sad, that the only Candidate who shoots guns and knows what a "Cover 3" defense is is a Chick. Theres several million votes to be had in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virgina that value that more than knowing the Vice Prime Minister of I-Hate-America-Stan. McCain 285/Obama 253, give or take a few faithless elector votes for Bernie Sanders in Vermont.
9.29.2008 11:54am
donaldk2 (mail):
The problem with Palin is that she is nor willing to state the truth, which is: she knows that the proposed "bailout" is a trip into uncharted waters, about which those who understand it best do not agree. Lacking knowledge, she will not venture comment about a matter about which she is not entitled to express opinion.
9.29.2008 11:58am
blabla:
I was planning on voting for McCain before I watched the Gibson/Couric interviews. I still consider myself a conservative/libertarian, but I think Palin is just wildly unqualified to be President or Vice-President. I find it strange that you guys can't acknowledge this.

(By the way, I don't understand why you think she's this great libertarian either. In part 2 of the Couric interview, she talks about how we need government oversight of "predatory lenders" and she also enacted a windfall profits tax on oil companies. OK, she likes hunting. But is that all you're going on?)
9.29.2008 11:59am
Mad Max:
Kathryn Lopez is the most pathetic imbecile of all at NRO! Her remarks are always truly painful to read.
9.29.2008 12:03pm
mss (mail):

This year's vice-presidential debate will matter far more than most, largely due to lingering questions about Palin. But I also believe that a strong Palin performance will put these concerns to rest among those for whom this matters


So: what, in your view, would constitute "a strong Palin performance"? And (assuming that you are among those who have "lingering questions" about Palin): What are the questions that you still have about her, and what might get you to settle on answers to those questions?
9.29.2008 12:04pm
Roger Schlafly (www):
The problem with Palin is that she is nor willing to state the truth, which is: she knows that the proposed "bailout" is a trip into uncharted waters, about which those who understand it best do not agree.
There is a long list of politicians who are similarly unwilling to tell us the truth about the bailout. It includes: Bush, Paulson, Pelosi, Reid, Obama, Biden, etc.

I would like to get rid of all the policians who give bad answers to questions about the bailout. But then, who would be left?
9.29.2008 12:08pm
PC:
Sad, that the only Candidate who shoots guns and knows what a "Cover 3" defense is is a Chick. Theres several million votes to be had in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virgina that value that more than knowing the Vice Prime Minister of I-Hate-America-Stan.

What is sad is that people would value knowledge of guns and football more than knowledge of foreign affairs when picking the people that lead our nation. I think Mencken had something to say about that.
9.29.2008 12:11pm
KWC (mail):
"selectively edited"?

I am not sure if you are aware of this, but the process of editing involves selecting what stays and what goes, and even rearranging things. Selective editing is redundant.

The entire interview transcript was available, so I don't see any misdealing. This is especially true considering that nothing great was edited out.

Finally, Gibson is far from "liberal."
9.29.2008 12:13pm
Kevin!:
I kind of feel bad for K-Lo.

She's become the emblem of The Republican Base to a lot of bloggers/media types. As in, if she expresses any sort of concern about a Republican, then The Base is REALLY concerned.

Now, absolutely she is fanatically loyal to the party line, but it sort of sucks to be used so ruthlessly by the other side whenever she has an independent thought.
9.29.2008 12:15pm
Mad Max:
What is sad is that people would value knowledge of guns and football more than knowledge of foreign affairs when picking the people that lead our nation.

Yes, it is sad that we live in a democracy - for now - and the unwashed peasants get to vote. Fortunately our ruling elite is in the process of dissolving the people and forming a new one via unchecked immigration.
9.29.2008 12:15pm
Obvious (mail):
Palin can announce she had considered dropping out but felt Tina Fey really needed the work...
9.29.2008 12:23pm
PC:
Yes, it is sad that we live in a democracy - for now - and the unwashed peasants get to vote. Fortunately our ruling elite is in the process of dissolving the people and forming a new one via unchecked immigration.

I love Monday morning strawmen.
9.29.2008 12:23pm
MartyH (mail):
Palin has considerable strengths that should not be overlooked. Her Alaskan biography shows that she is a great retail campaigner. That she has guts. That she has vision. That she is able to work across party lines to implement her vision. Her long goal for Alaska is to remove it from being a ward of the Federal government so that its aboundant natural resources can be properly harnessed.

Her weaknesses are that she does not yet know much about foreign policy; that she is an Outsider and so subject to incredible scrutiny; she hasn't leaarned to speak "politician" where lips move but nothing comes out.

Palin's instincts and judgment are right. I think she'll do fine in the debate.

Even if McCain loses, she'll be back on the national stage. She'll win if she runs for Senator (for example, for Stevens' seat in six years, after two full terms as governor). By 2016 or 2020 she'll be leading the Republican Party.
9.29.2008 12:29pm
JosephSlater (mail):
The talking point of the day in some quarters is definitely, "let Palin be Palin!"

First, I wonder if this really matters much. Who, honestly, votes based on who the VP is? Suppose Palin does well in the debate -- doesn't say anything stupid, gets off a good one-liner or two. Do anybody really think that a bunch of independents will say, "well, she's not as dumb as I thought -- I'm switching from Obama to McCain!" On the other hand, if she doesn't come off well, also so what? Dan Quayle got elected VP after being widely perceived (rightly or wrongly) as a dolt and having been the victim of the most famously cutting line ever in a VP debate apparently didn't sway many votes.

Second, I understand the talking point that Palin sounded better before she got stuffed full of talking points. But isn't it a problem that some of the things that made her sound good were, on reflection, simply untrue (at least in significant part)? See, e.g., her alleged position on the "bridge to nowhere." It's harder to sound good if people check what you say. Also, don't we think that a VP has to show that she is capable of handling more than provincial Alaskan politics?
9.29.2008 12:29pm
Al Maviva (mail):
I think Palin is just wildly unqualified to be President or Vice-President.

As a lifelong democratic liberal who wanted to vote for a democrat this election, I feel terribly disappointed because it seems to me that somebody with less than 170 working days spent as a senator is qualified to be president or vice president so I'll just have to vote McCain.

(Of course I'm not a democrat or a liberal but as long as we're going to do some unpaid astroturfing of talking points here, we might as well make it conform to the astroturf stylebook, right?)

The actual choice is between a presidential candidate who is wildly unqualified if experience is any measure, and one that is better prepared by experience to be president than any candidate we have had since Nixon or Johnson (pick your poison). It's entertaining to me that Veep candidate Palin's lack of experience is why all these 'lifelong conservatives' are going to vote for a presidential candidate who probably still has trouble finding the men's room in the Capitol. There is something deeply implausible about that argument.
9.29.2008 12:29pm
JosephSlater (mail):
DOES anybody, not "do anybody." Yeesh.
9.29.2008 12:30pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Al M.:

It's not the "experience" factor that have people worried about Palin. It's the "is she smart, knowledgeable, and intellectually curious," problem. You can believe that Palin has those factors over Obama, but you would be in the small minority.
9.29.2008 12:32pm
JB:
Palin stepping aside is the wishful thinking of people who have not considered the strategy at all.

McCain and his base consider leadership and good judgment as equivalent to taking a position and sticking to it. American politics is brutal to people who admit they were wrong, even years ago. If Palin withdraws, thanks to all this speculation everyone will know it's under pressure from the campaign, and McCain's judgment will be fatally called into question. Besides, the enthusiasm she generated among the Pentecostal/Evangelical base will be all gone. McCain would be lucky to break 100 EVs, whoever he put in.

Palin was always a gamble. It looks like a losing one, but the die has been cast.
9.29.2008 12:35pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
When I evaluate the way someone has responded to a question I start with how I would have answered it. To the Couric question about McCain's legislative achievements, and adopting a position of not yet being familiar with them (which I am in real life), my answer would have been this:

I am still studying Sen. McCain's legislative accomplishments. Although I could rattle off items from a list, such as the McCain-Feingold Act on campaign spending, I don't like to comment on legislation unless I have satisfied myself it is something I personally support. Sen. McCain has not asked me to voice support for positions with which I don't agree, and I wouldn't do that. I might support them after reviewing their constitutionality, but I have not completed that review.

Now of course as myself, and not being a VP candidate, I would say:

During his tenure in the Senate, Mr. McCain has passed [list] and introduced [list]. However, they are all unconstitutional.


Which is why no one will ever nominate me. :)
9.29.2008 12:36pm
Archon (mail):
I would rather have someone unqualifed, at least according to Washington insiders, then have someone they considered to be qualified.

Also, it is funny to note that if Palin were a rising star liberal woman who aborted her down syndrome baby, rallied against guns, and chained herself to trees in the name of the environment, the media reception would be much different. She would be "breaking the glass cieling to a million shards," "be the death knell to the male patriarchy in Washinton, "showing how women are getting there foot into the door of a man-run world," and to disspell any questions of qualification - "of course she isn't qualified, men simply won't let women into positions where they could become qualified for such a job."

The media and its liberal supplicants are full of such cr**.
9.29.2008 12:36pm
Kelly (mail):
K-Lo is fabulous entertainment. She lost the last shred of credibility she had (generously assuming she ever had any) when she persisted in predicting a Santorum victory right up until the election returns came back in 2006. I'm delighted to see that two years later, her non-existent relationship with reality remains the same.
9.29.2008 12:37pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
JosephSlater... you seriously think Sen. Obama is "intellectually curious"? On what basis? Other than learn an ability to sound much more moderate than he votes, what gives you the believe that Sen. Obama is "intellectually curious," that he is seriously curious about, say, the conservative position on free markets, or the argument in favor of prohibiting abortions? Was it his refusal to vote for a bill banning letting children born alive die, which even Planned Parenthood didn't oppose? Has he engaged in deep, long meetings with people who disagree with him, at the end of which he promised to stop claiming that the GOP is filled with a bunch of bitter people clinging to guns and religion? Maybe it was his ability to accept the reality that the surge which he opposed has worked?
9.29.2008 12:38pm
Ex parte McCardle:
I find it funny that Adler can serious contemplate the possibility of "a strong Palin performance" while at the same time accusing Post of wishful thinking.
9.29.2008 12:41pm
AntonK (mail):
I love all the talk about whether Biden or Palin should withdraw (or be booted) from their respective tickets.

For either to do that should (I believe would) irreparably destroy the ticket. It would so call into question the decision making that went into the choice to begin with that the candidate would simply be unfit on that basis alone for the Presidency.
9.29.2008 12:46pm
Jon Roland (mail) (www):
Further on how I might have answered the question on foreign policy experience if I had been Gov. Palin:

My state of Alaska borders two foreign countries, Russia and Canada, and the governor's office must often deal with its counterparts in those countries, rather than leaving matters to the State Department. My legislation to build a gas line to bring energy to the lower 48 states, instead of only sending oil to Japan, involved negotiation and agreement with Canada, over which the pipeline crosses. Russian and Alaskan boats fish in common waters and sometimes have to put into one anothers' ports, and Russian aircraft sometimes intrude into Alaskan airspace, requiring a response from aircraft of the Alaska Air National Guard, which I command. These engagements require some delicacy to reach agreement and avoid conflict, and as governor I have had to address that.

Note that in the above response I am not asserting or denying anything I may have done personally, only presenting a context in which I might have had to gain experience or exercise judgment, which I suggest I would have had without saying so.

Palin should have someone suggest such language in case the matter comes up again, as it probably will. But I have no input into her campaign.
9.29.2008 12:57pm
runape (mail):
Just to pile on to the (rather weak) "selective editing" point, you are curiously omitting reference to the more recent CBS interview, about which I have not seen any similar criticisms of the editing, and which was far worse than the Gibson performance. Indeed, it was the CBS performance, so far as I can tell, that gave rise to the calls for her to step down.
9.29.2008 12:59pm
Ghost:
K-Lo, in general, is pathetic. She reinforces the worst stereotypes about conservatives.

Palin did not implement a windfall tax. She renegotiated the state's contract with the oil companies. The state sells the oil to the companies. Palin rightly figured that the existing arrangement screwed the Alaskans (who own the oil) due to oil company lobbying of officials. That's analogous to you having a product X and figuring you can get a greater profit by selling it at a higher price. A windfall tax, in contrast, is a post-hoc tax on a profit obtained under previous arrangements.
9.29.2008 1:01pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Palin has to stop this "fake it till you make it" style campaigning and answer honestly why she could handle the job of President should she need to step into the role. There has to be a happy medium between "I can see Russia from my house," and "Can I play the piano? I don't know, I never tried."


Has he engaged in deep, long meetings with people who disagree with him

It's funny how one of the strongest talking points about McCain is his lack of support from his own party in Congress.
9.29.2008 1:01pm
Mad Max:
It's not the "experience" factor that have people worried about Palin. It's the "is she smart, knowledgeable, and intellectually curious," problem. You can believe that Palin has those factors over Obama, but you would be in the small minority.

What is the actual concrete evidence for Obambi's smartness, knowledge and intellectual curiosity? Articles he has written? Cases he worked on? Anything from his law practice, lecturer job, time in the state legislature? Far as I can tell, his written track record is extraordinarily scanty, and I am surprised this doesn't ring more alarm bells in the legal community (which, of all groups, ought to understand how bizarre it is that this guy has gotten as far as he has without ever apparently having written anything that one can point to as evidence of his intellectual acuity).
9.29.2008 1:03pm
runape (mail):
PatHMV,

How about Obama's embrace of market-based environmental regulation? Support for the death penalty, including in cases of child rape? Lowering of taxes for 95% of Americans? Insistence that African American fathers take responsibility for their children? Support for welfare reform? Campaign finance reform? Anything registering, or nobody home?
9.29.2008 1:08pm
PC:
What is the actual concrete evidence for Obambi's smartness

Well since you are asking a serious question...oh, wait a second. No you aren't. You said "Obambi."
9.29.2008 1:09pm
Randy R. (mail):
Mad Max: "What is the actual concrete evidence for Obambi's smartness, knowledge and intellectual curiosity? Articles he has written? Cases he worked on? Anything from his law practice, lecturer job, time in the state legislature?"

Well, it's about as skimpy as W.s record when he was running for prez in 2000. But that didn't stop all those people from voting for him, did it?
9.29.2008 1:10pm
Anna:

First, I wonder if this really matters much. Who, honestly, votes based on who the VP is?


You forget that conservatives don't like John McCain much. A lot of people were either going to sit out this election or vote reluctantly for McCain. Palin actually excited the base and gave us a reason to vote this November.
9.29.2008 1:13pm
Sarcastro (www):
I demand EVIDENCE! And no hearsay, neither! OThumper is dumb until proben otherwise!
9.29.2008 1:17pm
Stash:
From the outset, I agreed with Krauthammer that Palin was a mistake (and posted that opinion in a comment to one of the VC posts). Romney, like Clinton for Obama, was the logical political pick, who was nevertheless disqualified by the personal (or personel)difficulties of working with the candidate. One cannot simultaneously make the argument that experience matters and that it doesn't, that it endangers the republic and that it doesn't. The McCain camp's implicit concession that inexperience for office is a non-issue was a huge mistake. McCain's gamble that Palin's appeal would more than offset this problem seems, at least at this point, not to be paying off.

That said, I agree that dumping Palin at this point would be political suicide. Even a "voluntary" withdrawal by Palin would have the same effect. That leaves open the question of whether she needs to be prepped or "allowed to be herself." I think a series of "I don't know" and "I haven't had enough time to study the issue" would not play well with an electorate that has been taught since the primaries that the biggest question about Obama is his readiness to answer the 3am phone call. If she can't "fake it" at least as well as Obama--which so far she has not been able to do--this will be a huge negative for McCain.

On the other hand, she is winning the "low expectations" game, and if she survives the debate looking poised and competent, there is hope yet. If she comes off as poorly in the debates as she did in the interviews, I think McCain is toast.
9.29.2008 1:24pm
richard cabeza:
runape
Lowering of taxes for 95% of Americans?
Hate to break it to you, runape, but Obama is not president yet. He could not have done this.

You have your press releases mixed up, and I think this one is meant for next year at this time. In future, check with the Home Office before publishing material that could damage the reputation of the Party.
9.29.2008 1:29pm
DangerMouse:
What a grand charade everyone is involved in. Archon nailed it. If Palin aborted her kid, she'd be a media darling right now. She hasn't, and in fact, she's got a happy family and is doing everything she wanted to do without the help of the feminists, and so she must be destroyed.

Enemies of the normal abound in this election. Palin's normal, so she has to be stopped. I don't think anyone's arguments about Palin have anything to do with experience, specific knowledge on finance of foreign policy, or anything. They hated her before they really knew her because what they saw in her was enough to enrage them: her normalcy.
9.29.2008 1:30pm
Careless:

Well, it's about as skimpy as W.s record when he was running for prez in 2000. But that didn't stop all those people from voting for him, did it?

Randy: So you voted for Bush? Or was that an issue then but not now? Why would you even write this when Bush's example would be a reason to vote against Obama? Arguing that Bush and Obama are similar seems like the very last thing you'd want to do
9.29.2008 1:37pm
mss (mail):

What a grand charade everyone is involved in. Archon nailed it. If Palin aborted her kid, she'd be a media darling right now. She hasn't, and in fact, she's got a happy family and is doing everything she wanted to do without the help of the feminists, and so she must be destroyed.



..it is funny to note that if Palin were a rising star liberal woman who...chained herself to trees in the name of the environment, the media reception would be much different.


Seriously? I really, honestly ask that you provide me ONE example of a female political figure who is known to have aborted a Down Syndrome baby, or to have chained herself to a tree, (or something similar) and who is treated admiringly by the "mainstream" media.

Perhaps, instead, you mean: "Had Palin (secretly) aborted her baby, she'd be a media darling." Again: seriously? Can you offer any substantive support for the claim that Palin - Trig = media darling?
9.29.2008 1:39pm
Franklin Drackman:
Silver Spoon or not, "W" managed to learn how to fly the T-33,T-37,and T-38, all in a years time without killing himself, then turned in close to 500 hours in the F-102. I bet Barak can't jump start his car without consulting his handlers.
9.29.2008 1:46pm
genob:
Based on Friday's debate, it appears that Obama considers his oppostion to going into Iraq in 2003 as the primary, if not only test of foreign policy competence.

So what is Joe Biden going to talk about on Thursday?
9.29.2008 1:52pm
wuzzagrunt (mail):
runape:

PatHMV,

How about Obama's embrace...Lowering of taxes for 95% of Americans?

If Obama was so smart, he'd know that ≈⅓ of filers pay zero or negative federal income tax, and another 15 million do not file federal returns. That means that if 95% of Americans get a tax cut, then nearly 40% get a free check from Uncle Sam. Oh wait...I guess that's his point.
9.29.2008 1:54pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):

Palin actually excited the base and gave us a reason to vote this November.


You guys are cheap dates. No offense.
9.29.2008 2:07pm
Mad Max:
Well since you are asking a serious question...oh, wait a second. No you aren't. You said "Obambi."

So, ya got nothin', huh? That's what I thought.
9.29.2008 2:09pm
Bama 1L:
Considering that characters in "edgy" entertainment like "Sex and the City," teen comedies, etc. don't have abortions, I really doubt a female politician who admitted having an abortion would receive any sort of positive reception from the mainstream media.

But I'm willing to be proven wrong. Just go get an example.
9.29.2008 2:10pm
DangerMouse:
mss,

When the New York Times publishes glowing articles from a columnist about how glad she was to abort 2 of her triples so she wouldn't be forced to buy mayonnaise at Costco, you can bet that Palin would be a media darling if she aborted Trig. The MSM loves abortion.

More than 80 percent of Downs Syndrome diagnosed babies are aborted. The MSM has the same general sympathy towards eugenics in this regard as the rest of America. But Palin makes them feel guilty, so she's attacked.

It's really not so hard.
9.29.2008 2:14pm
JosephSlater (mail):
PatHMV:

In part, I think Obama is intellectually curious because his answers are ... yes ... nuanced, and show that he understands the other side of the debate.

I also note that he got high marks from colleagues and students with whom he disagreed, both in politics and academia, for being fairminded and balanced in his approach.
9.29.2008 2:25pm
Joe Miden:

What do you mean, Senator Obama's not smart and curious. Didn't you notice how well he listened to Senator McCain's solutions, and how clearly he expressed his agreement?
9.29.2008 2:28pm
theobromophile (www):
RunApe,

First of all, your last line was totally uncalled for.

Second of all: Obama's "support" for execution for child rapists came concurrently with his "support" for Second Amendment rights. After having said that he believes that the D.C. gun ban meets constitutional muster, and not expressing other reservations about it, he stuck his finger up in the air, tested the political winds, and came out in support of the Heller decision. Sounds fishy. That was concurrent with his criticism of the Kennedy decision, but he has not expressed any intention of getting judges like Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts - who, presumably, vote the way he likes - on the bench. Go figure.

As another commenter mentioned above, almost 40% of Americans who file a tax return have no income tax liability. I would also point out that we should not expect a leopard to change its spots: Barack Obama, while in the Senate, has consistently voted to raise taxes on the middle class (i.e. those earning $34,000/year and above), or has refused to lower their taxes.

This nonsense about lowering taxes for 95% of Americans is purely an attempt to buy votes - it's mathematically impossible (as some 40ish% don't pay taxes anyway) and is diametrically opposed to his previous voting patterns.

Campaign finance reform? You're kidding me, right? We're talking about the same guy who took a pledge to take public financing, then broke that pledge?
9.29.2008 2:28pm
Sarcastro (www):
I take Obama at his word when he says Americans that he doesn't mean American taxpayers, and assume that absurd result means he's a craaazy socialist!

Also, the MSM is not so much liberal as they love abortion (It's their sacrament, cause they're all godless heathens!). If she'd worn one of those "I got an abortion " T-shirts They'd have loved Palin and not looked into her background at all despite public desire!

God, I love speculating based on anecdotal information! Makes me feel alive!
9.29.2008 2:29pm
JosephSlater (mail):
Anna:

Re turning out the base, sure. I should have been more clear that I meant, "who will be swayed one way or another by the VP debate?" The religious right folks who got excited about Palin when she was named, I'll wager, will still be at least mostly excited by her no matter how well or badly she does. But they won't be enough.
9.29.2008 2:30pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
Lowering of taxes for 95% of Americans?
If you believe that Obama has any intention of lowering taxes while pushing a huge expansion of government, you probably also believe he'll protect the Second Amendment. Somehow I doubt either belief has any foundation.
Support for welfare reform? Campaign finance reform?
More and bigger welfare, and more restrictions on political speech are not selling points with me. They're simply making huge problems worse. Every time government "reforms" something we the people get the shaft and we the taxpayers get the bill.
9.29.2008 2:34pm
Thomas_Holsinger:
I look forward to Joe Biden's Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde impression during the vice-presidential debate. It should have the horrid fascination of a good car crash.
9.29.2008 2:35pm
Archon (mail):

Seriously? I really, honestly ask that you provide me ONE example of a female political figure who is known to have aborted a Down Syndrome baby, or to have chained herself to a tree, (or something similar) and who is treated admiringly by the "mainstream" media.

Perhaps, instead, you mean: "Had Palin (secretly) aborted her baby, she'd be a media darling." Again: seriously? Can you offer any substantive support for the claim that Palin - Trig = media darling?


These are the same sick people who, like Obama, think that people who engage, voluntarily, in an act that is designed to reproduce human life are being PUNISHED when the purpose of that act is achieved, yet not desired.

If that happened to his daughter, he would rather have that baby be scrambled like an egg, vaccumed out, and deposited into a biowaste container, then see the baby born.

That, my friend, is SICK and DISGUSTING.
9.29.2008 2:37pm
Sarcastro (www):
Archon correctly conflates allowing a choice with wanting everyone to get an abortion.
9.29.2008 2:44pm
Anna:
You guys are cheap dates. No offense.


If I have to choose between dating a terrorist-loving big-spending socialist and a small-government fiscal conservative, I'd much rather go with the latter.

And there is nothing cheap about an Obama presidency.

So, in a way, you are right.
9.29.2008 2:47pm
PC:
Archon correctly conflates allowing a choice with wanting everyone to get an abortion.

All I know is if Obambi is elected then we will all be subject to Sharia law and have forced gay marriages and abortion parties. And these beliefs are 100% internally consistent.
9.29.2008 2:53pm
Archon (mail):
PC -

See red herring
9.29.2008 2:57pm
A Law Dawg:
PC -

Surely it's allowed to plead in the alternative!
9.29.2008 2:58pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
It's revealing I think how the above commenters spend their energies personally attacking Kathryn Lopez (who I pay no attention to and have no opinion on) while ignoring what she had to say as well as entirely avoiding Bill Kristol's opinion on the same topic.

Kristol had more to say on that during yesterday's Fox News Sunday, in response to a question from host Chris Wallace:
Chris Wallace: Bill, the next big event — I mean, the one thing about these debates is we don't stay on them very long 'cause there's another event coming quickly — this Thursday, the big vice presidential debate between Palin and Biden. How nervous are the two camps — both camps — about their people they're putting up in this debate?

Bill Krystal: Some of the McCain camp are nervous about Governor Palin, but they shouldn't be. They've totally mishandled her for the last week or two. Free Sarah Palin! Free Sarah Palin! That's what I say.

McCain picked her because she was a good governor, a good politician, a good communicator. Let her be a politician. Let her communicate! Put her on TV, put her on radio, let her relax, let her go into the debate and try to win the debate.

They've surrounded her with former Bush White House aides, who if I might say, in a way typical of the Bush White House, have gone into a total defensive crouch — ooh, let's not make mistakes, be very careful; Katie Couric, 9,000-part interviews — don't talk to any conservatives on talk radio or on television, that would be just talking to the people who might vote for you! Go get quizzed by Katie Couric and don't make a mistake!

I hope, I think she's strong enough to overcome the very bad advice and very bad staff work that's surrounded her recently. I gather that Senator McCain isn't happy with the way his own team has been dealing with Governor Palin. I hope they free her over the next few days, and tell her, “Go win the debate with Joe Biden, and don't be defensive!”
9.29.2008 3:01pm
mss (mail):

When the New York Times publishes glowing articles from a columnist about how glad she was to abort 2 of her triples..., you can bet that Palin would be a media darling if she aborted Trig


Not a "glowing article," (just a first-person narrative of a woman's abortion decision), not a "columnist" or anyone that any of us knows ("Amy Richards"?). Again, in support of your assertion that a woman politician who spoke publicly of her abortion would be a "media darling", I ask that you give a single example.

(Something like 20-25% of all pregnancies end in abortion; if embracing one's abortion was the ticket to media fawning, surely you should be able to come up with dozens of "abortion celebrities"!)
9.29.2008 3:02pm
Tyrone Slothrop (mail) (www):

If I have to choose between dating a terrorist-loving big-spending socialist and a small-government fiscal conservative, I'd much rather go with the latter.


That's the opposite of what you said in the post to which I responded. Make up your mind, and then we'll talk.

It does seem to be a fact that many conservatives were unimpressed and uninspired by McCain until he picked Palin, and then got excited. I'm just impressed by how easy they were won over. But I'm sure she'll do a great job at state funerals.
9.29.2008 3:03pm
Michael Edward McNeil (mail) (www):
Krystal → Kristol.
9.29.2008 3:05pm
A Law Dawg:
I'm sure she'll do a great job at state funerals.


Hopefully she won't be speaking at McCain's.
9.29.2008 3:07pm
runape (mail):
I plead guilty to imprecision. I should have said, 95% of tax filers (and 95% of all families with children, regardless of whether the parents are working), will receive a tax cut. Cutting taxes - you know, commie left-wing agitprop.

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/724/
9.29.2008 3:10pm
richard cabeza:
Archon correctly conflates allowing a choice with wanting everyone to get an abortion.

Sarcastro (d. 2008), comedian commenter. Couldn't keep up with Leftists talking points as their absurdity met and surpassed his own. A bronzed fake beard commemorates his burial plot somewhere in the waters of the Florida Keys. Services to be held in the former The Onion building.
9.29.2008 3:12pm
Archon (mail):
Wow, more red herrings. Why won't anyone actually refute his statement?

Everytime a liberal meets a good argument, they make fun of the argument with tangential attacks so that they are not forced to actually answer it.
9.29.2008 3:16pm
Railroad Gin:
This is pure silliness. Even ignoring the chaos that switching the Veep would bring to the campaign, the GOP base would never forgive McCain if he dumped Palin. Why is this even being debated?

If Palin does well against Biden, this is all going to look extremely stupid. I would say there's a greater chance that Biden sticks his foot in his mouth than that Palin comes across as dumb.

The real story is the embarassment that Biden is. Of course the media is never going to cover this. Seriously, the guy can't go for two days without some kind of gaffe. Highlights include yelling at the guy in the wheelchair to stand up, bragging about how Obama's tax cuts were good because everyone could by a toaster, ranting like a survivialist about Obama better not take my guns, denouncing one of Obama's own ads. You'd think the media would be all over this just for its pure entertainment value, but liberal bias trumps all.

I can buy the argument that taken in isolation Palin is not qualified to be VP. I cannot buy it coming from the same people who think Obama is qualifed to to be Prez.
9.29.2008 3:24pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
This is wishful thinking on the part of the Democrats. It would be political suicide for McCain. Palin has motivated the conservative base, and dumping her would give Obama an LBJ level landslide.

Sure, she may not have been the best candidate for VP. But it is done, and changing horses now will not just turn off all those voters motivated by her being on the ticket, but would also paint McCain as having made a bad choice.

What is interesting however is that many of these same people who are pushing McCain to dump Palin, think that gaffomatic Joe Biden is just fine. Some of what she has said might be questioned. A lot of what he has said for years, and in particular, since nominated, has been flat wrong. Anyone for FDR giving a presidential speech on TV right after the 1929 Stock Market Crash? Hillary being the better VP candidate than he is? Should I go on?
9.29.2008 3:26pm
richard cabeza:
Why is this even being debated?
Because her opponents hate her for living a life which attracts her supporters to her, apparently. It's unfathomable that she could be respected to them, and so obviously she's teetering on the brink of being thrown out.

The real story is the embarassment that Biden is. Of course the media is never going to cover this.
Of course they do. He's gaffe-proof.
9.29.2008 3:31pm
Sarcastro (www):
Archon DARES people to refure Dangermous' speculation about a hypothetical situation!

Get to it, people!
9.29.2008 3:39pm
Sarcastro (www):

her opponents hate her for living a life which attracts her supporters to her


this is exactly what people hate Bush for! And Reagan, and Tom DeLay!

Wow, liberals just hate everyone cause of they life they live!

I'm sure it has nothing to do with policy.
9.29.2008 3:43pm
Stacy (mail) (www):
I think a lot of nominal conservatives and/or Republicans haven't really stopped to evaluate Palin, as they've been so busy reacting to the avalanche of raw hate coming from the left.

I'm mostly just perplexed by that. She may or may not be qualified, but to judge by the MSM's approach you'd think she'd been unmasked as David Duke's chief of staff or something.
9.29.2008 3:43pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
If you believe that Obama has any intention of lowering taxes while pushing a huge expansion of government,

Obama could simply continue W.'s borrow and spend policies.

If Palin aborted her kid, she'd be a media darling right now.

That doesn't jibe with the positive press "Life Goes On," received, for depicting a family with real-life Down person Chris "Corky" Burke. Two-time Tony Award winner Patti LuPone played his mother.
9.29.2008 3:44pm
David Warner:
Ex Parte,

"I find it funny that Adler can serious contemplate the possibility of "a strong Palin performance" while at the same time accusing Post of wishful thinking."

I know that the concept might be difficult to wrap your brain around, but Adler (and I) not only contemplate the possibility of "a strong Palin performance" but also of a strong Palin candidacy, and not just this one. It would therefore follow that Post is thinking wishfully that she would so easily be eliminated.

I do think having ex-Bush advisors prep her might qualify as the stupidest move in the history of American politics (I had previously assumed it was Schmidt messing her up, but this makes far more sense). One would have to go back to the Harding Administration to find a more inept communications strategy than the Bushies employed.

BTW, I'm voting for Obama because I bet my mom I would if Rove got anywhere near a McCain/Palin campaign. I lost the bet.
9.29.2008 3:46pm
richard cabeza:
Sarcastro:
I'm sure it has nothing to do with policy.

I was talking about policy. Like abortion, for example.
9.29.2008 3:53pm
Sarcastro (www):
[richard cabeza, I think how one lives one's life and policy are kind of different reasons to vote for someone. i.e. you can hate Clinton for his philandering AND for his medicare bill.]
9.29.2008 4:01pm
is more adorable when backed into corners:
David W, I would posit that the Bush comm strategy works great when you want to act unilaterally and have no interest in telegraphing your moves via the media. And when you are given a blank 9-11 sort of check to take action, your strategy keeps your domestic adversaries (liberals and moderates) and foreign adversaries (terrorists and progressives) on their toes and guessing at your next moves.

It's really bad to use that same closed/defensive strategy in trying to educate your fresh new face of the party who can already speak on her own and is not a policy wonk or souless automaton.
9.29.2008 4:04pm
Andrew J. Lazarus (mail):
Talk about wishful thinking. In a debate or a press conference, some people, perhaps many people, might pay attention to whether Gov. Palin's remarks resembled reality. It's true, in Alaska's debates she prepped enough, or the questions were vague enough, it worked out. The McCain campaign seems to be terrified that, at least without major cramming first, on the national stage with questions on all sorts of issues outside her limited Alaskan ambit, Palin will come across like a well-meaning ignoramus.
9.29.2008 4:17pm
Dave!:
People like her because she's likable. I'd never support her, but I do think she's likable. If the McCain campaign cuts the apron strings, that might help her likability, but that won't help her *know* anything more about policy than she does already... and from the looks of it, she doesn't know enough to be veep. At least not yet, and with an election almost a month away, that's not good enough.
9.29.2008 4:42pm
richard cabeza:
[Sarcastro]: Rather, failing to support euginics-purposed abortion and not aborting the baby is as much a policy statement as simply pushing for its criminalization. That is, the action is related to the policy and the candidate's conviction toward the policy.
9.29.2008 4:49pm
Asher (mail):
She's horribly dim. Don't you get it? How can you even talk about her potentially winning a debate about stuff she clearly knows nothing about? Here's a clip from a Fox News report on a meeting she had with some mothers of troops in Iraq:

Palin responded to a question about the economic recovery plan, which was hashed out overnight. She answered, but she made it clear that she was then going to concentrate on the Blue Star Moms, "Bailout? Ok? Then I'm going to talk to these gals whose sons are also in the service. But, thankful that John McCain is able to have some of those provisions implemented in that Paulson proposal to have more sound oversight," Palin said. "Taxpayers aren't going to be assumed to be called upon to bail out so I'm glad that John McCain's voice is heard and his leadership too."

Bailout? Ok? Taxpayers aren't going to be assumed to be called upon to bail out? No? Who is going to be 'assumed to be called upon' (whatever that even means)? The Tooth Fairy? Santa Claus?
9.29.2008 5:18pm
richard cabeza:
Asher,

I haven't heard or read the interview, but one of the theories behind a plan is: the assets' risk is unknown, and nobody really wants to touch them, so government sets a price by buying the assets, which then signals the market in ways which they can then assess its risk reliably, and then the government can sell the assets back off. That is, it's an acceptance of risk (specifically, the risk of the asset being worth more or less when it's sold) instead of a simple infusion of money -- though it will almost certainly end up as a cash infusion (seniorage) with the added benefit of risk adjustment.

Thing is, nobody knows how much it will really cost if that's how it goes down; and that assumes that it's going to happen.
9.29.2008 5:26pm
David Post (mail) (www):
Jonathan and I, of course, may just disagree about this -- but just to set the record straight: He writes:


I think David Post is engaging in more than a bit of wishful thinking in his post below. We know he's not a Palin fan, was never a potential McCain supporter, and doesn't exactly have his finger on the pulse of contemporary conservative thinking.


It's true, I'm no Palin fan, and I do not have my finger on the pulse of anyone's thinking . . . but it's not really true that I was never a potential McCain supporter. I was a (strong) supporter of McCain's during the Republican primaries, and I was genuinely delighted that he won the nomination; I actually had not decided for whom to vote in the general election until the Palin nomination, which I believed, and still believe, was an irresponsible, outrageous, and unpatriotic act on McCain's part. I haven't voted for a Democratic candidate for President since Jimmy Carter (a vote I admit I regretted later on), but even if McCain hadn't acted like a complete jackass last week during the runup to the bailout, he'd lost my vote.
9.29.2008 5:33pm
richard cabeza:
I'm no Palin fan
I was a (strong) supporter of McCain's during the Republican primaries

No offense, but those things do go hand-in-hand for a reason. In general, the conservatives I know tend to not like McCain in principle -- just like in 2000 -- but some of his strategy (including Palin) warms him to them.
9.29.2008 5:44pm
Asher (mail):
government sets a price by buying the assets, which then signals the market in ways which they can then assess its risk reliably, and then the government can sell the assets back off. That is, it's an acceptance of risk (specifically, the risk of the asset being worth more or less when it's sold) instead of a simple infusion of money -- though it will almost certainly end up as a cash infusion (seniorage) with the added benefit of risk adjustment.

But taxpayer money is still being spent, regardless of whether it's a "simple infusion" of money, or of whether we make the money back. And I'm sure Palin doesn't understand any of this.
9.29.2008 7:28pm
jukeboxgrad (mail):
you can bet that Palin would be a media darling if she aborted Trig


I doubt it. But she clearly won a lot of credit with her base by not aborting Trig. And she's very savvy about this; she presented him to press photographers when he was 3 days old. This quickly led to the obvious headlines. I think using an infant as a political prop is a deeply despicable act.

Lots of people are focusing on how wonderful it is that she didn't abort Trig. No one seems to want to focus on how un-wonderful it was to get pregnant with him in the first place, given that they already have four kids, and given that her age meant heightened risk, and given that the number of parents willing to stay home and take care of an infant (let alone a special-needs infant) is zero.

Todd and Sarah getting pregnant with Trig was just as irresponsible as what Levi and Bristol did. The irresponsibility was compounded when the parents decided to not adjust their lives to allow a parent to be home with him. It's simply wrong:

what kind of role model is a woman whose fifth child was recently born with a serious issue, Down Syndrome, and then goes back to the job of Governor within days of the birth?


Palin's failure to act responsibly as a parent is my business because Palin is applying for a job that requires a person to act responsibly. Someone who puts their personal ambition ahead of their kids is also going to put their personal ambition ahead of their country.

It's not that a mom needs to be home. It's that a parent needs to be home. Todd and Sarah are jointly responsible for these poor choices. But only one of those two is asking me for a job.
9.30.2008 12:45am
egrim (mail):
DP writes,


I was a (strong) supporter of McCain's during the Republican primaries, and I was genuinely delighted that he won the nomination; I actually had not decided for whom to vote in the general election until the Palin nomination . . . I haven't voted for a Democratic candidate for President since Jimmy Carter (a vote I admit I regretted later on) . . .



Astroturf! But you left out the part about being a Concerned Christian.
9.30.2008 1:54am
jukeboxgrad (mail):
Astroturf!


That reminds me. What ever happened to McCain's effort to get people to spread his talking points on blogs?
9.30.2008 2:31am
David Warner:
adorable,

"And when you are given a blank 9-11 sort of check to take action, your strategy keeps your domestic adversaries (liberals and moderates)"

Except liberals and moderates weren't his domestic adversaries yet post-9/11. The left were, sure, but he could have kept them somewhat isolated by playing nice with liberals and especially moderates and/or attacking the left directly to heighten the contrast. He (or likely rather Cheney and the communications team) decided otherwise.

Bad move. For the R's and the country.
9.30.2008 5:05pm